Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: malaysia

Exploring KL

Chinese Lantern at Chan See Shu Yuen temple

When I was in Tehran, I was hosted by a very nice Iranian family. The experience was unforgettable and I had one of the most amazing moments with them. On two separate occasions, two of the family members came for a visit to KL. So today, I met one of them and showed her and her friend around KL.

We went to Chinese and Indian temples in Chinatown. It was my first time going to these temples so it was very interesting. I became a tour guide “on the spot”. I went to Chinatown 2 years ago when I was in KL and I barely remembered my way around. It was good to refresh my memory and at the same time explore this city!

When I was in the Chinese temple, I struck in a conversation with a Chinese-Malaysian man. He’s in his mid-50s I would say. He had lived in Australia and New Zealand before and loved to explore. He told me that he was the one who discovered a new species of Rafflesia. The plant is called Rafflesia Azlanii. I think this was the coolest thing EVER!! 🙂 When asked why he named it Azlanii, he said he had a fight with his Professor friend about it. Apparently it was named after his friend’s wife. He said that his daughter also recently found another species of Rafflesia, which was named Rafflesia Sumeii.

This is the reason why I love talking to strangers 🙂 You never know what kind of experiences they have encountered! It’s just so cool! He really made my day!

The One Thing that is Ignored

It does not matter how busy I am. How many things I do in a day. How many different places I visit. Or how many people I meet and talk to in a day. There is always one thing that is missing. One thing that saddens me. One thing that makes me suddenly cry when there is no one looking.

I’ve been saying to myself, everything is going to be okay. I can get away from this loneliness. Let’s get myself busy with different things. Let’s put a different focus this time. Let’s just not think about it for a moment.

But you know what? Those things are temporary. I haven’t solved the root of the problem yet. I’ve been ignoring what the inner part of me is complaining about. I’ve been treating it as if its opinion is not counted, or to make it even worst… I’ve been treating it as if it does not even exist. I was (and am) being ignorant and for a split second I thought the trick was going to work. Apparently, I was wrong. Very wrong, indeed.

But what can I do about it? There is nothing I can do at this moment. I cannot solve it in a short time. Even if I meet new people here and there, that doesn’t mean I would be connected with them easily. I can talk to them, definitely. But to be connected and to feel that I am comfortable talking about anything to that person, takes not a day or two. For now, while I am waiting to meet friends that I am comfortable with, I am gonna be in the same state… miserable, sad, and lonely.

Does it sound like I am complaining? Maybe I do. I am extremely grateful to be here, rather than in Jakarta. But my heart is saying different things. I haven’t fulfilled its basic needs yet. Sometimes I don’t even realize that tears are pouring down from my eyes. The next thing I know, my eyes and cheeks are already wet. This is beyond my control and I can just hope that this stage of my life will be over soon insya Allah. I am hopeful and I know that He is listening.

I really miss my friends in the Netherlands 🙁

Hiking at Bukit Tabur

The dam view taken from Bukit Tabur

Finally, my friends and I did the long-awaited hiking in Bukit Tabur. It is the hill which is located only few minutes from KL. It’s been a long time since I hiked (and worked out hahaha) so as expected, it was tiring. But the only thing that mattered was the fact that I really really loved it. After being stuck in a noisy city for months, I could escape to the nature. It was liberating, somehow. On top of that, I had a great time my friends :). Thanks Ikmal & Nabilah 🙂

KL: Week 3

Third week of living here. I kinda get the hang of it. I’m not as miserable as in previous weeks. I still feel so lonely though, due to lack of friends and activities. But I temporarily ‘heal’ it with some daily routines. I need to make myself constantly busy, doing different things every day. When I’m bored with chatting, I would watch some Islamic-related talks on YouTube. When I’m bored with the Internet, I would cook and try out new recipes (mind you, I’ve been cooking different things every day for the past 3 weeks). When I’m bored with doing household chores, I’d go out to the market or eat out with friends (I have less than 5 friends here to be honest haha). And recently, I have found a new way to pass my day by doing something really positive: volunteering. But that’s another topic to write about :P.

Anyhow, I’ve recently moved to a new apartment. My sister and I found a master bedroom to be rented and decided to move in immediately. It’s located within the same complex, but it is in a different building. The view from my room is not spectacular, but at least the highways and roads are a bit further than the view of my old room. Our housemates are also nice and clean. They work most of the time so I barely see them around except in the evenings. I wish I can invite my friends over for dinner (which I usually did when I was in Eindhoven). The thing is, I don’t have that many friends yet! 🙂 Plus, KL’s foods are delicious and affordable so why would anyone want to try my not-so-good cooking?? 😛

What about KL? Still a mystery city for me. One thing I realized about KL is that the city is not as extensively covered by public transports as in Jakarta. While they are very comfortable and clean, its buses are not widely available or they come rather infrequently. Jakarta’s public transports may be awful, dirty, and risky but they come frequently. In some areas in KL, I still need to take a taxi to reach some places — including my place. There is only one bus passing the area where I live and they come every half an hour at their best. Taking a taxi means that I have to pay 5 times than a bus fare — that’s not good for an extremely-low-budget-jobless-person like me. But sometimes I have no choice. The only solution to this problem is to find a job!!! haha…

Oh I hope I can get it soon… so I can at least get away from this boredom and stress! InsyaAllah soon.

Culture Shock: Malaysia

A friend once told me, “Their language is the same with ours. Their culture is similar too. Why do you still need to adapt?”

Ooooh, yes! I still need to adapt and I’m struggling with it.

Culture shock is inevitable, even for a person like me who have lived in 6 different countries across 3 continents. Living in a new country is like starting your life all over again from scratch. Finding new friends. Getting acquainted with a new culture. Learning a new language, dialect, or accent. Getting familiar with the life pace. Getting used to the routine. Not knowing where to go. Not knowing who to ask for a shoulder to cry on. Not knowing where to find your comfort zone. Adapting. Adapting. Adapting.

They are all part of the stages that a person may have to go through when living in a totally new place. It is normal and I expect this to happen when I’m about to embark on a new life. It is known that there are four stages of culture shock: excitement/honeymoon, withdrawal, adjustment, and enthusiasm. I went through those stages when I first came to Indonesia, Australia, and the Netherlands. It took me at least two years to reach the fourth stage — the stage where I feel very much comfortable and familiar with the place, people, culture, and everything surrounding me.

What I find most shocking about starting a new life in Malaysia is how fast it was for me to shift from the honeymoon phase to the withdrawal phase. It took me less than two weeks to feel restless, moody, lonely, and isolated. The honeymoon phase passed in a blink of an eye. I even forgot that I actually went through that phase! Why is that?

When it comes to Kuala Lumpur, there is a lack of excitement within me to explore and get to know the city, its people, and culture. What can I say? Indonesia and Malaysia share almost the same culture and language. There are barely any differences between us. Unlike Australia or the Netherlands, I am not THAT curious. This is also not the first time I visited this place. I’ve been here two years ago and have pretty much visited some (touristic) spots. So I wasn’t interested to see them again.

But those are not the only reasons. When you are a student (especially in a foreign country), you are part of the recently established “community”. You are one of the newly enrolled students. You are not the only one in the boat. Others take the same boat too. They experience the same thing: struggling to fit in the new culture and environment. They share the same struggle as you do. And they need new friends as much as you do.

What about now? It’s a totally different scenario. I am no longer a student. I am a jobless immigrant. I belong to not a single community. I am alone in this boat. There are no meet and greet sessions. There are no orientation programs to go to. There are no available activities or events. I have to search them by myself. That’s the different.

Don’t get me wrong. I have few friends and most importantly my sister whose presence has helped me to get over my loneliness. But I can’t constantly depend on them and disturb them. They have their own life and I am the only one who can fix this problem.

So… is that it? Well, not really 🙂 I’m in the process of getting up again after a week of miserable moments. I’ve contacted some people on CouchSurfing to meet up (and would probably join some activities too) and I’ve applied for a volunteer work. I love being busy (with activities, not with studies haha) so I’m trying so hard to find some things to do while looking for a job (and while waiting for my laptop to be repaired). Traveling outside of Kuala Lumpur is currently not an option as I am penniless and jobless :). I would love to, though!!

I am confident that I can go through this, insyaAllah. I just need to be a little bit more patient. Yay to the new life!

The “White” Asians

Sometimes I don’t realize that it’s been so many years since the last time I lived in an Asian country. To recap, I left Indonesia in the beginning of 2004. So that’s exactly 6 years ago. Six years don’t seem to be a big deal to me, but actually I’ve been missing or forgetting about a lot of things! Things that once was normal, is now an alien to me.

I’m talking about beauty products.

My only moisturizing facial creme ran out yesterday. So I went to a nearby hypermarket, which was just few minutes walk from where I lived. I went to the skin products section, scanned through the brands, and found the brand that I always bought. There were a range of products that this brand had and I was totally shocked to see that *ALL* of them contained whitening stuff in them! Yes, all of them were whitening creme.

Disappointed, I went to a pharmacy, hoping to find a non-whitening creme of the same brand. I found it, with only one left on the shelf. I was not very satisfied because this one got no UV-protection, unlike the whitening creme products. But I didn’t have much choice. I quickly scanned through the other brands and all of them were whitening products! (as far as what my eyes could see)  A big disappointment!

This is not about Malaysia. This is not about Indonesia. This is an Asian disease.  Even the Japanese and Korean people who are already SO white, still want their skin to be whiter! Can you imagine that?! And this is no different with white people wanting to get their skin darker. But at least, I can still find a lot of creme products over there that don’t make my skin darker. Not in Asia. It was a big shock for me to see almost all products in the shelves were for people who wanted to get their face “whiter”!

To be honest, it’s ironic that this thing was normal to me back then when I was still in Indonesia. Many of my friends were “afraid” of the sun and tried so hard to avoid it. Having a dark skin was never a favorite among many Indonesians. The guys too would prefer girls with fair skin. Look at all those advertisements. All the models. Actors. Actresses. Most of them have fair skin.

Alhamdulillah, I was never a person who wanted a fair skin. I love my skin and I’m grateful for what I have. I was even more proud when my “white” friends used to compliment my skin color.

What can those products do to your skin? I don’t believe they can make your skin any whiter. I do think they’re just placebo effect 😀

The View of KL

The view of KL Tower & Twin Towers from my sister's apartment

This picture was taken from my sister’s apartment. Not the best view, to be honest, but hey! It’s better than nothing, right?

Oh, wait a minute! Let me paraphrase that sentence. It’s so much better than THIS one:

The view from my sister's apartment

Did you see that? The two highways? I never dreamt of living nearby busy highways. It’s like a nightmare, really. You are forced to hear the annoying sound of traffic every single day and night. Cars. Trucks. Constructions. I live in the 24th floor. Imagine that.

Well, I didn’t have any choice. This is where I need to be. I just have to live with it. I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I miss my house in Eindhoven and its quiet neighborhood. Its calmness and tranquility is definitely priceless. What can I say? Big city is just not my thing. I’m going to be out of here in two years!

Kuala Lumpur

Alhamdulillah, I’m now in Kuala Lumpur, arrived here two days ago to be precise. I’ve been moving around from one place to another for the past 3 months and I kinda need some time to take a rest — to finally settle and “breathe” normally. Hopefully I’ll find the environment that I need here in KL.

So what’s next for me? Job hunting and getting a visa! I can only stay here for a month so I need a visa that allows me to stay here longer. And of course, a freakin job. Any job will do. I’m desperate. Hahaha. I wanted to work at NGO and be sent to the remotest place ever in Indonesia. But it’s not possible now as I need to be in KL. Need to change my plan and strategy! Ah, wish me luck!!! Insya Allah I’ll be fine.